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Mysore rejoices in a son's achievement

Last updated: 19 January, 2010
Mysore, Jan 19, DHNS

Amid the grief of having lost his father, Shankar Ashwath, son of veteran actor K S Ashwath, recollected the days when he worked with cinematographer V K Murthy, recipient of Dada Phalke award 2008.

master at work: A file photo of V K Murthy and  the late Gurudutt.

master at work: A file photo of V K Murthy and  the late Gurudutt. Shankar Ashwath met Murthy on the sets of Kannada film ‘Hoovu Hannu’, S V Rajendra Singh Babu’s directorial venture in 1993. “That V K Murthy is an excellent
cinematographer is a fact that has been acknowledged by everyone in the industry and outside. But being in the industry for so long and having tasted success for many years, Murthy has still kept his humility. I particularly remember that he would encourage youngsters who were entering the field and would teach them nuances of cinematography. With this award, the cinema industry has honoured the entire State,” Shankar remarked.

Mysore-born V K Murthy, who spent his initial years here, was a student of Lakshmipuram School and moved to Sarada Vilas High School. He then shifted to Bangalore and completed his diploma in cinematography at Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic. The one-time violinist and a freedom fighter made Mumbai (then Bombay) his home in 1940s.
After initial years of struggle, Murthy went on to become Guru Dutt’s favourite cameraman and the duo together created some of the best films and images during the black and white era of the Indian cinema. He also shot India’s first cinemascope (75mm) movie, ‘Kagaz Ke Phool’.

A humble man, Murthy holds no secrets and shares with everyone what it took to create the signature shot of sun breaking through the roof in ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’. It was created using a pair of ordinary mirrors to get a parallel beam. The film got him the Filmfare Best Cinematographer Award for 1959.


Murthy won the award again in 1962 for ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’ and was conferred with IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award in Amsterdam in 2005.

Some of the films which have the ‘Murthy touch’ include: Baazi (1951), CID (1956), Pyaasa (1957), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), Suraj (1966), Love in Tokyo (1966), Pakeezah (1971), Naya Zamana (1971), Razia Sultan (1983), and Deedar (1992). During his stint as a trainee in London, Murthy worked on an English film, ‘Guns of Navrone’ too.
Apart from Guru Dutt, Murthy also worked with directors like Pramod Chakravarthy for ‘Naya Zamana’, ‘Jugnu’, with Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani in latter’s ‘Tamas’.

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